Where the Witches Lurk #6 — Pencils/Inks Previews

Greetings all!

We’re so very close to unleashing the final issue of Where the Witches Lurk to the world! (If you haven’t caught up, you can purchase every issue digitally here and issues 1 – 4 here).

While we prepare the issue’s release, how about a glimpse at some of the art to come? Below are the cover and page 1 art pages (pencils and inks).

Oh, and by the way, keep your eyes and ears peeled for the coming months, because we’ve got a big announcement regarding the book!


WTWL 6 Cover Pencils by Donny Gandakusuma


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WTWL 6 Cover Inks by Jesse Hansen



WTWL 6 Page 1 Pencils by Donny Gandakusuma


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WTWL 6, Page 1 Inks by Jesse Hansen

Marketing … WTWL pt 5

Greetings once more!

Are you as excited as I am for tomorrow’s debut of your new favorite comic, Where the Witches Lurk??!?! I’m pretty nervous, truth be told.

As promised, today is the final part of a five-part series about the creation and production of the comic book, and I thought it fitting that, since the book is out tomorrow, we could talk a bit about the marketing.

In today’s world, marketing a low-budget, creator-owned comic from an independent publishing company is a tough gig. Add to that the fact that the issue is digital only (available at Keyleaf’s store page as a $0.99 PDF), and, well, we don’t have the advantage of brick and mortar stores posting up signs (or do we? Are you out there, physical entities?!).

What we do have is the Internet. This “World Wide Web” is a wondrous place with endless paths and corners in which we can post updates about our books, from release dates to new artists to a new TPB collection. But where do we begin?

I have no background in marketing, and given my experience trying to shill my short films on the film festival market…well, let’s just say I’m pretty lousy at self-promotion. Even this blog’s look is pretty basic and not very telling of my personality beyond people I already know. But thank you for the compliment you probably just thought of 😉

Thus I must rely on the kindness of others, friends and strangers alike, as well as the boss-man, Ben. Ben hired Shannon Forrey to help not only with book designs, but also marketing plans. And WTWL was the first new book on which Keyleaf could try different techniques. Here’s what they (we) did:

We announced the book in August on Keyleaf’s Facebook group page and through Twitter and the website.

We went to two conventions since the announcement of the book: Rose City Comic Con in Portland, and the Las Vegas Comic Expo.

At those conventions, we GAVE AWAY a bunch of clearly labeled marketing goods, including broomstick pens, pencils, bubbles, and small containers of ooze/goop/slime. You know, for kids.

Each item was labeled with “Evil Lives”, which was the marketing concept that represented the overall conceit of the book: What if evil lived right around the corner from home?

Promo Piece #1

Promo Piece #2

Promo Piece #4

The marketing was bolstered by the release of a new image each month, digitally via Keyleaf’s Facebook page, tumblr page, and twitter account.

Shannon created a fantastic logo on the cover, and the title itself now evokes a past age, a timeless feel still in modern day. From the book’s inception, Shannon has tirelessly worked for the book’s benefit, asking me early on what tone I was aiming for, the mood, the types of imagery that would stand out the most, etc.

She’s encouraged all levels of creation, and included me on the majority of decisions while still surprising me throughout. I thank her and everyone at Keyleaf for the support of this project.

I hope you enjoy reading and experiencing this book as much as we enjoyed piecing it together.


Creation Process … WTWL pt 4

Greetings readers, writers, viewers and scallywags!

For today’s rendition of all things WITCHES, I’ll recount a little bit of our creative process for the creation and publishing of the book in general, from conception through production and the final piece. I’ll save a bit about marketing for tomorrow’s post, as there’s enough ab0ut that portion to write a whole book about.

For the process, here’s how we begin:

I write the scripts, all the scripts, for each issue of WTWL. I have six in the bag, and had them all written before we acquired our artist, Donny. The best reason for this is to have a sense of where the story is heading, and when working with an artist it’s important to ensure that not only all of the art will fit the entire story or arc, but also to help with the planting certain images or locations to be used later.

After writing the scripts, they were reviewed by Ben Glibert, and then again, eventually, by Matt Dunford. Matt came on board as an editor at Keyleaf Comics earlier this year and has been a marvelous addition to the project. Matt’s a meticulous reader of all things comic book, and when it came time to refine the script he was adamant about certain changes and willing to be malleable to others. When it comes to churning out the artwork on time, Matt is very direct with both Donny and our colorist, Chris Man.

Donny I’ve talked about before, but I do want to reiterate that he draws and submits the artwork with an unmatched speed and dedication to the script. If there’s anyone as excited about this book as I am, it’s Donny.

There’s no doubt in my mind this is a crack team of creators, and everyone on board doesn’t hesitate to blast their opinions. Once in a while, Donny will combine panels or add an effect that at first glance appears to jaunt away from a particular beat of the script, but when looked at in the book as a whole creates an everlasting effect for readers.

Chris Man is a coloring machine, adding layers of tonality and darkness to each page with seemingly very little effort.Here’s his own take on his working process: “When I color, I strive for control and consistency with respect to color choices, shading, lighting, texturing, and extra effects.  My process consists of a flat color pass on all the pages to separate and isolate shapes and objects as well as to set a tone and time-of-day.  Then I revisit each page and apply tones, textures, shadows, highlights, and special effects, usually sequentially and in that order.  At the end of the day, I need to make sure the object(s) of attention in each panel have that certain… pop.”

Page 1, with color!

Everyone involved holds strong opinions, ALL are about strengthening the book. There’s a benefit to having such directness involved, from everyone on board, including from myself. We tell each other how we really feel, how certain pages, dialogue bubbles, or panels are or aren’t working, and then, to his much deserved credit, Matt puts on his multi-dimensional editor hat and shuts off the “all-in” opinion valve and makes a call.

And speaking of dialogue bubbles, none of the pages would be complete without the jovial spirits of Ben Glibert, who snaps in bubbles like there’s no tomorrow, yet finds the time to make any and all adjustments requested, as long as the story remains told in the perfect way — and he does it all with a smile, a chuckle, and a dry joke sprinkled in because, when all is said and done, we’re doing something we LOVE doing — making comic books come to life.

The final piece of the book puzzle, though, is the design. The look of the book, from cover to cover, and this job belongs to the talented Shannon Forrey. Ben and Keyleaf brought Shannon on board from the company’s inception, and the work she has done is nothing short of brilliant. Tomorrow we’ll take a gander at more of her marketing material, but for now just feast your eyes on the below covers (for books WTWL, The Heaven’s, and the DUST: Withered Earth TPB. She is a supporter of all of the books, and when she has a thing or two to say about the art, you listen.

No one has given more passion, dedication, and time to the books of creators than Keyleaf Comics, and I look forward to many months pounding the pavement in support of this team, and of WTWL.

Tomorrow: Marketing!